It's a demon buried deep within the French psyche -- a demon which refuses to be exorcized.
A word which brings shivers down the spine and strikes a fear into the heart of the country's football fans.
In Rio de Janeiro, the ghosts of years past haunted France again -- the "Angstgegner" returned.
Germany, the "bogey team" as it is known in France, wrote another painful chapter into Les Bleus' World Cup history on Friday.
A 1-0 victory secured Germany's place in the semifinals for a record fourth consecutive tournament.
But unlike in 1982 and 1986, when Germany defeated the French in the last four on both occasions, this was not a battle of epic proportions.
There was not the drama, nor the controversy -- but the end result was the same.
Mats Hummels' 12th-minute goal gave Germany a lead it never looked like relinquishing against a French side which flattered to deceive.
In fact, it was almost an apologetic exit from Didier Deschamps' players -- so disappointing after the team's encouraging performances in the group stage.
At a tournament where there have been so many surprises, perhaps it was reassuring that there remains one constant.
Germany, whether it plays to its maximum or just within itself, seems to always get the result it craves.
Joachim Low's side will now face host nation Brazil -- which beat Colombia -- in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, while France returns home pondering what might have been.
The tears flowed for those draped in blue -- this was supposed to be the day where France finally gained revenge.
Some 32 years may have passed since the two countries met at the 1982 World Cup, but the painful memories remain.
At the time, France's World Cup hopes were in the balance with the game at 1-1 when Patrick Battiston ran on to meet Michel Platini's pass.
Battiston was the overwhelming favorite to reach the ball first -- and he did so, but as he approached, West Germany goalkeeper Toni Schumacher laid the Frenchman out cold with a brutal attack.
Battiston, shorn of three teeth and suffering damaged vertebrae, left the field on a stretcher, his limp hand held by a shaken Platini -- who feared his teammate might have even died.
Schumacher stood tall -- he wasn't red-carded, nor was he even cautioned. Instead, he saved two penalties in the shootout following a 3-3 draw as West Germany reached the final, before losing to Italy.
It was an achievement which preserved his name in notoriety, even securing him top spot in a poll held by a French newspaper for the most hated German -- a poll he won ahead of Adolf Hitler.
While the incident may not register on the German consciousness, it was repeated endlessly on televisions in the buildup to Friday's contest.
A game with a grudge -- it's hardly a new experience for Germany, which appears to encounter such fixtures on a regular basis.
Its experience at this level is undisputed -- but a failure to win the World Cup in 24 years has not gone unnoticed.
In 2002, Rudi Voller's team was defeated in the final by Brazil -- since then there have been three consecutive semifinal defeats.
For so long German football has been admired, but with success comes expectation and, in terms of triumphs, "Die Mannschaft" has failed to deliver.
Perhaps this is the year where Low's side finally delivers.